Just One of the Girls

3 min readNov 2, 2018

Nothing highlights how far I exist from traditional masculine qualities quite like people’s surprise when I’m able to express emotions comfortably.

As a straight, 6ft 5in tall man, I can only guess that my first impression automatically lines up with traditional masculine characteristics. But what even are masculine characteristics?

Society tends to see masculine traits as being strong, calm and collected, or possessing power and only expressing anger or frustration. I’m sure nearly every man, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, was ridiculed or shamed for crying or being “girly”.

We all know that story. But we still have a ways to go before we understand it.

I frequently say “I love you” to my closest friends, all of which are straight men, and they say it back. We hug and talk about how we are feeling. We cry together. We help support each other emotionally, and when things get tough we always make it a priority to listen and help a friend get through emotional strife. We fostered this safe space since we all met in high school.

My friends are foundation upon which I build myself up.

The reason I’m mentioning this is because I always get mixed reactions when I inevitably reveal my emotional openness and comfort towards others. I notice that certain types of people will judge me, with an amused and suspicious look on their face.

Frequently, when I’m out at a bar with new acquaintances/coworkers, the things I say and the way I act always gets the joke “wow you’re just an open book after one beer huh!” or “So cute, you’re a lightweight”. The comments themselves don’t bother me, rather it’s the source.

A man like me can’t be emotionally open and comfortable with others without alcohol apparently. That assumption placed on me when I’m just trying to really get to know the people around me, always leaves me feeling a bit bummed out.

More often than not, making any meaningful connection with other men is beyond rare.

For example, I used to have a part time job selling firearms a few years back, and for 2 and a half years I had to shut myself away. There was no way in hell that any guy I worked with would’ve understood that having emotional connections, besides anger and frustration, would be anything but “gay”.

I don’t value what society dictates as desirable masculine qualities, because trying to connect with those that strictly live by them, are quick to shut down any emotional bond.

Why? I can only assume fear. Because showing emotions like sadness is “a quality of women”, and a lot of men still believe that women can’t do certain things because of lack of emotional control or PMS. As a man, when you’re self confidence lies in your ability to be someone who doesn’t need help or is ONLY ever strong, then weakness would break your identity.

But, these views are inherent in most cultures. And I’ve run into girls who enforce the masculine stereotypes too.

“Wow, you’re just like a girl!”

“Here Bryan, come be one of the girls with us. You know how to talk about girl stuff.”

We have been strongly taught to align with masculine and feminine qualities. They are ever-present and very tough to break out of.

But I am proud to be a man who expresses all of his emotions, and can talk to others and be vulnerable. I am proud that despite this, I can also be strong when I need to. Masculine and feminine qualities are not mutually exclusive. They have never been mutually exclusive.

So for now, I’m fine being just one of the girls.